Posts Tagged ‘armyworm’

Tackling the deadly fall armyworm infestation devastating maize in southern Africa

By Brenda Wawa

Maize plants damaged by fall armyworm in a farmer’s field in southern Malawi in Balaka District. CIMMYT/Christian Thierfelder.

Smallholder farmers in eastern and southern Africa are facing a new threat as a plague of intrepid fall armyworms creeps across the region, so far damaging an estimated 287,000 hectares of maize.

Since mid-2016, scientists with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and national agricultural research partners have been monitoring reports of sightings of the fall armyworm in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Surveys conducted in 2016 in farmers’ fields confirmed the pest is present in Kenya. The threat of the pest spreading into other eastern Africa countries is a significant risk since the region has similar planting seasons.